Friday, July 5, 2013

Men's Semifinals Wimbledon'13: Favourites vs Giants

Wimbledon '13 is in its final lap. The Men's semifinals are already on at the Centre Court with Djokovic and Del Potro battling right now and Murray and Janowicz next. This Wimbledon has been very different from the Grand Slams we have been used to in the last 5 years or so. But in the Men's draw, at this stage, it doesn't seem that much turbulent.

The top two seeds are yet in the draw and on course to meet in the finals as per the seedings. But, who they are contesting the semifinals against is somewhat different. Djokovic playing Del Potro instead of David Ferrer in the semi's is very understandable considering the explosive nature of play the big giant has. Del Potro's win over Ferrer is no great surprise and would not even be called an upset by any standards. So, in this half we can say, we got what we were expecting, more or less.

The other half, has British hope Andy Murray as the top seed and one of the semi finalists. He has held is game and temper to come back from two sets to love down against the resurgent Fernando Verdasco. And he faces Polish Jerzy Janowicz, instead of a speculated Nadal or Federer here. The heavyweight bottom half has lightened up to quite a great extent with Federer Nadal going out early. Murray, for sure, is the biggest beneficiary here. Let's see what to expect today as they battle for a place in the finals.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs Juan Martin Del Potro

The ever consistent World No. 1 has been meticulous in his run up to this point. He has fended off challengers like Tommy Haas and Tomas Berdych without even dropping a set. He knows he can win it, and he really wants it. But still, he would have been happier to see Ferrer on the other side than Del Potro, even if he's the favourite going in. Del Potro, has also done well and he's also here without dropping a set. He isn't in quite the form he was when he won US Open in 2009, smashing Nadal and overcoming Federer in consecutive matches, but he's nevertheless dangerous. Standing at 6'6", he's the sort of player who on his day can win over absolutely anybody...and yes, anybody it is. But he's also carrying an injured knee which did not hamper him much against Ferrer but as we all know, Djokovic is no Ferrer.
Djokovic will look to play consistent and move around Del Potro as much as possible. He'll also look to return well as JMDP has been serving very well this tournament. Del Potro will again have to serve extremely well (as Djokovic is the best returner we have) and fire his booming forehand to gain advantage.

Del Potro can in no way outplay Djokovic but he sure can out-hit anybody off the court. Only, if that rocket of a forehand is up and running today, he may just have a chance. Djokovic has advantage to get into rallies; Del Potro in finishing the point early.
Pick: Djokovic in Five! -if Del Potro's knee holds.

(2) Andy Murray vs Jerzy Janowicz

This seems like a no-contest to many. But, that surely isn't the case. Jerzy Janowicz might have benefited from not having to face Federer or Nadal but he's still come out as the best player in the quarter. He is not too popular but he has a lot of potential and whatever happens today, he's still most likely a future top 8 player. Janowicz stands at 6'8" and his serve is like a cannon down the barrel. Yet, he's not only all serve and no play. He has a very good forehand and a solid backhand to boast off. Despite all this, what he's facing is no petty task. Janowicz faces - (a) Andy Murray who's been a hell of a player (only improved further under the great Ivan Lendl); (b) who's seasoned for such big occasions and has won the US Open last year and the Olympics Gold to get the monkey off his back; (c) the overwhelming occasion of playing the Wimbledon Semifinals on the centre court with a lot of royalty and celebs to be expected; (d) the British crowd who wants Murray to win at any cost and who'll back him to the hilt.

Jerzy Janowicz has to hold his nerve and focus on his game (much easier said than done) and hope Andy Murray goes into the slump like he did against Verdasco. Murray needs to play solid and ride the support wave without thinking ahead about the Finals; and thank the Gods for giving him Jerzy instead of a more experienced player as expected.
Pick: Murray in Four! 

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